I was born and raised in New York City, attending the public schools there—a pretty typical kid, gabby and obnoxious, who loved to play with his friends. But when I was eight years old, my four-year-old sister Carole Anne was diagnosed with liver cancer. We watched her wither away to a living skeleton, then die in agony. The soul of our family was shattered. The poetry I began writing as an adolescent seeped from that grieving wound, expressed that stark alienation. And that’s where my essential self remained until, as a 32-year old atheist, my soul was suddenly cracked open. I experienced an overwhelming mystical awakening which forever changed my life.
Well before this great turning point, I’d graduated from Queens College, N. Y., earning a B.A. In Creative Writing while winning a couple of literary awards: The Dwight V. Durling Poetry Prize, and The Peter Pauper Press Award. I was also very active in college theater, playing several leading roles. Prior to graduating however, I dropped out for a while, studied acting at HB Studios in Greenwich Village, then served in the U.S. Army Military Police, gaining an honorable discharge. Eventually, I moved to Kansas City, Mo., completing most classes toward a Masters in English Lit. at UMKC, but not taking a degree. Except for three years in the St. Louis area, I’ve lived in Kansas City ever since.